Martinez backs Hull for FA Cup

12 May 2014 12:31

Roberto Martinez believes Hull can replicate his Wigan side's achievements in becoming underdog FA Cup winners.

Martinez's final act before swapping the Latics for Everton last year was to lift the famous trophy after completing a shock victory over Manchester City.

Hull would be similarly surprising winners when they face Arsenal on Saturday, with the Gunners well fancied to end their nine-year wait for silverware at Wembley.

The Tigers have been on the slide since their semi-final win over Sheffield United, with a 2-0 defeat to the Toffees their fourth loss in five outings.

Despite that, Martinez believes Steve Bruce's men can make a fight of the final.

"The reality in a final is if you could choose, you would want to be underdogs. I think the secret is to embrace that tag," said the Spaniard.

"It's a day for everyone at Hull City to enjoy because it's a real achievement to get to the final. The reality is the pressure is on Arsenal and you can't really beat being in that position.

"Hull found it difficult in their semi-final because they were favourites but you can see them going to the final as the opposite and I expect Hull to perform well because the flexibility the team has.

"Steve Bruce, over the last two years, has given the team real tactical knowhow, and if they can control the occasion Hull City have a fantastic opportunity."

Martinez's words of support were the only thing Everton were willing to give up at the KC Stadium, with strikes early in each half from James McCarthy and Romelu Lukaku enough to deliver three well-earned points.

The only real positives Bruce could take from the action were pain-free comebacks from Allan McGregor, Paul McShane and Sone Aluko.

The trio have been pushing themselves hard to be in contention for a cup final place, with goalkeeper McGregor defying early suggestions that his season was over when he broke three ribs and damaged a kidney against West Ham in March.

Bruce admitted his team selection was partially influenced by next weekend's historic Wembley trip, when he must make some tough decisions.

"I've got something in mind, of course I have," he said.

"I've thrown three people in - McGregor, McShane and Aluko - who've all been out a long time. If there was something riding on the game I certainly wouldn't have played all three of them.

"But their attitude and the way they've tried to get involved in the cup final has been manful and of course they all want to be involved."

McGregor looks best placed of the three to make the starting XI, edging out his experienced deputy Steve Harper.

"He's done everything possible," said Bruce, who visited the Scot in intensive care shortly after his injury was sustained less than seven weeks ago.

"I'll see how he recovers but there didn't look to be anything wrong with him."

Source: PA